Chuluota man accused of killing his family denied bond, pleads not guilty

Grant Amato sought release from jail

By Ezzy Castro - Reporter

SANFORD, Fla. - A 29-year-old man accused of killing his parents and brother in Chuluota in January was denied bond Wednesday after trying to convince a Seminole County judge to set him free.

Grant Amato faces three counts of first-degree murder and is expected to enter a plea Wednesday. 

Amato's lawyer told News 6 shortly after his client's arrest that there wasn't sufficient forensic evidence to hold Amato in jail.

A notice of intent to seek the death penalty was filed against Amato last month. 

Records show Amato had argued with his family in the days leading up to the triple slaying because he stole $200,000 to wire to a woman in Bulgaria whom he met on a porn site. Amato claimed he had a relationship with the woman.

Amato's surviving brothe, Jason Amato, testified during the bond hearing. Prosecutors played a video of the encounter the brothers had after Grant Amato was taken into custody. News 6 is reviewing that video.

Jason Amato asked his brother if he had any role in his family's death. The accused killer replied, "No."

“I will pray for you brother because I can’t pray for mom, dad and Cody anymore," Jason said at the end of the video.

After a short recess the judge denied Grant Amato's request. The judge said the fact that Amato is computer savy and has been able to access bank accounts to steal money in the past factored into the decision.

Amato entered a not guilty plea to all three first-degree murder charges during his arraignment after the bond hearing.

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